‘Despicable’ charity box thief caught red-handed yet again

DRUG HABIT: Carl Mason
DRUG HABIT: Carl Mason
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A charity box thief branded Preston’s most despicable man has been caught red-handed again.

Carl Mason, who is serving his fourth jail sentence for stealing charity boxes, has admitted three more thefts.

Mason, 32, shamelessly targets funds intended for injured soldiers and sick children and adults to fuel his drug habit.

Mason, who is currently serving a theft sentence at HMP Haverigg in Millom, Cumbria, appeared by video link at Preston Magistrates’ Court.

He pleaded guilty to stealing a Dogs for the Disabled charity box on February 27 in Preston, along with a charity box for the skin charity Ichthyosis on March 21 in Leyland.

He also admitted taking a charity box for Marie Curie the following day in Chorley.

Mason was discharged conditionally for 12 months, and his current jail sentence could reportedly end this month.

Peter Gorbing, chief exectuive of Dogs for the Disabled, which currently helps more than 30 disabled adults or children in the North West, said: “It’s a great shame when someone steals a charity collection tin.

“Generous members of the public use these to donate to Dogs for the Disabled, enabling us to train more assistance dogs for disabled adults and children all over the UK.

“We rely entirely on donations to continue our work.”

This year alone, Mason, formerly of Fishergate, Preston, has been handed a suspended sentence for stealing a student’s suitcase when she arrived in Preston to study, and weeks later, he snatched charity boxes from the bar at The Sumners Arms in Fulwood as he casually supped a pint of cider.

He was captured on CCTV slipping the box below his jacket

He had previously claimed he stole from children’s charity Lucy Air Ambulance to repay the Royal British Legion after targeting poppy tins in the run up to Remembrance Day – an excuse described as “despicable” by police.

And Mason has also targeted Mini Magees soft play and party centre in Ashton, Costa Coffee in Fishergate and Boots in Fishergate in the past.